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Nikon D2Xs vs D40

The Nikon D2Xs and the Nikon D40 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in June 2006 and November 2006. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The D2Xs has a resolution of 12.2 megapixels, whereas the D40 provides 6 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Nikon D2Xs
versus
Nikon D40
Nikon D2Xs   Nikon D40
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Nikon F mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
12.2 MP – APS-C sensor 6 MP – APS-C sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 100-800 (800 - 3,200) ISO 200-1,600 (200 - 3,200)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
2.5" LCD – 230k dots 2.5" LCD – 230k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
5 shutter flaps per second 2.5 shutter flaps per second
Weathersealed bodynot weather sealed
3800 shots per battery charge470 shots per battery charge
158 x 150 x 86 mm, 1252 g 124 x 94 x 64 mm, 522 g
Nikon D2Xs:
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Nikon D40:
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Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D2Xs and the Nikon D40? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Nikon D2Xs and the Nikon D40 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Nikon D2Xs vs Nikon D40
Compare D2Xs versus D40 top
Comparison D2Xs or D40 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D40 is considerably smaller (51 percent) than the Nikon D2Xs. Moreover, the D40 is substantially lighter (58 percent) than the D2Xs. It is worth mentioning in this context that the D2Xs is splash and dust resistant, while the D40 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can compare the optics available in the Nikon Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the D2Xs gets 3800 shots out of its EN-EL4a battery, while the D40 can take 470 images on a single charge of its EN-EL9 power pack. As can be seen in the images above, the D2Xs has a battery grip built in. This facilitates image-taking in portrait orientation and gives it additional battery power. In order to provide similar functionality for the D40, there are third party battery grips available as optional accessories (see here on eBay).

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Nikon D2Xs 158 mm 150 mm 86 mm 1252 g 3800 Y Jun 2006 4,699i
2.
 
Nikon D40 124 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 470 n Nov 2006 499i
3.
 
Canon 1D Mark III 156 mm 157 mm 80 mm 1155 g 2200 Y Feb 2007 4,499i
4.
 
Nikon D3400 124 mm 98 mm 76 mm 445 g 1200 n Aug 2016 499i
5.
 
Nikon D3300 124 mm 98 mm 76 mm 430 g 700 n Jan 2014 499i
6.
 
Nikon D3100 124 mm 96 mm 75 mm 505 g 550 n Aug 2010 599i
7.
 
Nikon D300S 147 mm 115 mm 81 mm 938 g 950 Y Jul 2009 1,799i
8.
 
Nikon D3 160 mm 157 mm 88 mm 1300 g 4300 Y Aug 2007 4,999i
9.
 
Nikon D40X 124 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 520 n Mar 2007 729i
10.
 
Nikon D300 147 mm 114 mm 74 mm 925 g 1000 Y Aug 2007 1,799i
11.
 
Nikon D80 132 mm 103 mm 77 mm 668 g 600 n Aug 2006 999i
12.
 
Nikon D50 133 mm 102 mm 76 mm 620 g 400 n Apr 2005 749i
13.
 
Nikon D200 147 mm 113 mm 74 mm 920 g 400 Y Nov 2005 1,699i
14.
 
Nikon D2X 158 mm 150 mm 86 mm 1252 g 3800 Y Sep 2004 4,999i
15.
 
Nikon D1H 157 mm 153 mm 85 mm 1100 g 1200 Y Feb 2001 4,499i
16.
 
Nikon D1 157 mm 153 mm 85 mm 1100 g .. Y Jun 1999 5,499i
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The D40 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 89 percent) than the D2Xs, which puts it into a different market segment. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

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Sensor comparison

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the D40 is 1 percent smaller. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Nikon D2Xs and Nikon D40 sensor measures

With 12.2MP, the D2Xs offers a higher resolution than the D40 (6MP), but the D2Xs has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.52μm versus 7.85μm for the D40). Moreover, the D40 is a somewhat more recent model (by 5 months) than the D2Xs, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.

The resolution advantage of the Nikon D2Xs implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D2Xs for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 21.4 x 14.2 inches or 54.5 x 36.2 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 17.2 x 11.4 inches or 43.6 x 28.9 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 14.3 x 9.5 inches or 36.3 x 24.1 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D40 are 15 x 10 inches or 38.2 x 25.4 cm for good quality, 12 x 8 inches or 30.6 x 20.3 cm for very good quality, and 10 x 6.7 inches or 25.5 x 16.9 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Nikon D2Xs has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 800, which can be extended to ISO 800-3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D40 are ISO 200 to ISO 1600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 200-3200.

D2Xs versus D40 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

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Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Nikon D2Xs APS-C 12.2 4288 2848none22.210.948959
2.
 
Nikon D40 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none21.011.056156
3.
 
Canon 1D Mark III APS-H 10.1 3888 2592none22.711.7107871
4.
 
Nikon D3400 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.813.9119286
5.
 
Nikon D3300 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.312.8138582
6.
 
Nikon D3100 APS-C 14.2 4608 30721080/24p22.511.391967
7.
 
Nikon D300S APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.512.278770
8.
 
Nikon D3 Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832none23.512.2229081
9.
 
Nikon D40X APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.411.451663
10.
 
Nikon D300 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848none22.112.067967
11.
 
Nikon D80 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.111.252461
12.
 
Nikon D50 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.910.856055
13.
 
Nikon D200 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.311.558364
14.
 
Nikon D2X APS-C 12.2 4288 2848none22.110.947659
15.
 
Nikon D1H APS-C 2.6 2000 1312none........
16.
 
Nikon D1 APS-C 2.6 2000 1312none........
Neither the D2Xs nor the D40 offer Live View, so that they cannot project the live image that the sensor receives onto the rear screen. Moreover, both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.
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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The D2Xs and the D40 are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The viewfinder in the D2Xs offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the D40 (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the D2Xs has a higher magnification (0.57x vs 0.53x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Nikon D2Xs and Nikon D40 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Specifications
(inch/000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Max
Shutter
Speed *
Max
Shutter
Flaps *
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Nikon D2Xsoptical Y2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0/s n n
2.
 
Nikon D40optical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5/s Y n
3.
 
Canon 1D Mark IIIoptical Y3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/8000s 10.0/s n n
4.
 
Nikon D3400optical n3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0/s Y n
5.
 
Nikon D3300optical n3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0/s Y n
6.
 
Nikon D3100optical n3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
7.
 
Nikon D300Soptical Y3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/8000s 7.0/s Y n
8.
 
Nikon D3optical Y3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/8000s 11.0/s n n
9.
 
Nikon D40Xoptical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
10.
 
Nikon D300optical Y3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/8000s 6.0/s Y n
11.
 
Nikon D80optical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
12.
 
Nikon D50optical n2.0 / 130 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5/s Y n
13.
 
Nikon D200optical Y2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0/s Y n
14.
 
Nikon D2Xoptical Y2.5 / 235 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0/s n n
15.
 
Nikon D1Hoptical Y2.0 / 120 fixed n 1/16000s 5.0/s n n
16.
 
Nikon D1optical Y2.0 / 120 fixed n 1/16000s 1.5/s n n
Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.

One feature that is present on the D2Xs, but is missing on the D40 is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.

The D2Xs writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the D40 uses SDHC cards.

Connectivity comparison

For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Nikon D2Xs and Nikon D40 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
    Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Mic / Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Nikon D2XsY- / ----2.0---
2.
 
Nikon D40Y- / ----2.0---
3.
 
Canon 1D Mark IIIY- / ----2.0---
4.
 
Nikon D3400Ymono / mono--mini2.0--Y
5.
 
Nikon D3300Ymono / monoY-mini2.0---
6.
 
Nikon D3100Ymono / mono--mini2.0---
7.
 
Nikon D300SYstereo / monoY-mini2.0---
8.
 
Nikon D3Y- / ---mini2.0---
9.
 
Nikon D40XY- / ----2.0---
10.
 
Nikon D300Y- / ---mini2.0---
11.
 
Nikon D80Y- / ----2.0---
12.
 
Nikon D50Y- / ----2.0---
13.
 
Nikon D200Y- / ----2.0---
14.
 
Nikon D2XY- / ----2.0---
15.
 
Nikon D1HY- / ----FW---
16.
 
Nikon D1Y- / ----FW---

Studio photographers will appreciate that the Nikon D2Xs (unlike the D40) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.

Both the D2Xs and the D40 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D2Xs was replaced by the Nikon D3X, while the D40 was followed by the Nikon D40X. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Nikon website.

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Review summary

So what is the bottom line? Is the Nikon D2Xs better than the Nikon D40 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.


Arguments in favor of the Nikon D2Xs:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (12.2 vs 6MP) with a 43% higher linear resolution.
  • Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (1.2 bits more color depth).
  • More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (100% vs 95%).
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.57x vs 0.53x).
  • Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 2.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More portrait friendly: Features an integrated vertical grip for easier portrait shooting.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (3800 versus 470) on a single battery charge.
  • Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
  • Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in June 2006).


Advantages of the Nikon D40:

  • More compact: Is smaller (124x94mm vs 158x150mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 730g or 58 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (89 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (5 months) more recently.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D2Xs is the clear winner of the match-up (12 : 5 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

D2Xs 12:05 D40

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon D2Xs and the Nikon D40 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the D2Xs or the D40. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.

Expert reviews

This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DCW 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Nikon D2Xs............ Jun 2006 4,699i
2.
 
Nikon D40..81/100..+ +o4.5/5 Nov 2006 499i
3.
 
Canon 1D Mark III............ Feb 2007 4,499i
4.
 
Nikon D34004/5+4/576/1004/54.5/5 Aug 2016 499i
5.
 
Nikon D33003/5+..77/1004.5/54.5/5 Jan 2014 499i
6.
 
Nikon D31005/5+ +..72/1004.5/54.5/5 Aug 2010 599i
7.
 
Nikon D300S5/5+ +..82/1004/54.5/5 Jul 2009 1,799i
8.
 
Nikon D3......+ +5/54.5/5 Aug 2007 4,999i
9.
 
Nikon D40X..79/100..+ +4/54/5 Mar 2007 729i
10.
 
Nikon D300..+ +..+ +5/54.5/5 Aug 2007 1,799i
11.
 
Nikon D80..+..+ +o4.5/5 Aug 2006 999i
12.
 
Nikon D50..78/100..+ +4/54.5/5 Apr 2005 749i
13.
 
Nikon D200..+ +..+ +o.. Nov 2005 1,699i
14.
 
Nikon D2X......+ +.... Sep 2004 4,999i
15.
 
Nikon D1H......+ +.... Feb 2001 4,499i
16.
 
Nikon D1......+ +.... Jun 1999 5,499i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Nikon D2Xs:
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Nikon D40:
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Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.

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    Specifications: Nikon D2Xs vs Nikon D40

    Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Nikon D2Xs Nikon D40
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Nikon F mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date June 2006 November 2006
    Launch Price USD 4,699 USD 499
    Sensor Specs Nikon D2Xs Nikon D40
    Sensor Technology CMOS CCD
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.7 x 15.7 mm 23.7 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 372.09 mm2 369.72 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.4 mm 28.4 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 12.2 Megapixels 6 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4288 x 2848 pixels 3008 x 2000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 5.52 μm 7.85 μm
    Pixel Density 3.28 MP/cm2 1.63 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 800 ISO 200 - 1,600 ISO
    ISO Boost 800 - 3,200 ISO 200 - 3,200 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 59 56
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 22.2 21.0
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 10.9 11.0
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 489 561
    Screen Specs Nikon D2Xs Nikon D40
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.57x 0.53x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel no Top Display
    Rear LCD Size 2.5inch 2.5inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 230k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Nikon D2Xs Nikon D40
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 5 shutter flaps/s 2.5 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy150 000 actuations50 000 actuations
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium CF cards SDHC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    Connectivity Specs Nikon D2Xs Nikon D40
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket no PC Sync
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Nikon D2Xs Nikon D40
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodynot weather sealed
    Battery Type EN-EL4a EN-EL9
    Battery Life (CIPA)3800 shots per charge470 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 158 x 150 x 86 mm
    (6.2 x 5.9 x 3.4 in)
    124 x 94 x 64 mm
    (4.9 x 3.7 x 2.5 in)
    Camera Weight 1252 g (44.2 oz) 522 g (18.4 oz)
    Nikon D2Xs:
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    Nikon D40:
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